Decades ago, teachers used to be perceived as an all-knowing authority figure. While the students were considered as empty box ready to be loaded with all kinds of information. The learning method was conducted in one-way communication. Where the room for questions, even trivial ones were thought to be a form of disobedience from the students.
One of our greatest inventors
Thomas Alva Edison, was remarked as “difficult child” by his teachers and peers due to his inquisitive nature combined with his hyperactivity. His mother, however, saw his potential and ultimately decided it was best for him to be home schooled where he discovered his desire to challenge the existing system.
The cost of Edison’s hard work paid off when his invention
the lightbulb, which originally came from previous imperfect experimentations on electric light, is commercially produced to light millions of homes around the world. It is now becoming the bare necessity we can’t live without up until this moment.
So, did the world know that Edison will become the greatest inventor and pioneer. That someday would inspire other companies and individuals to improve the quality of his inventions? Yes, it was all started from his mother’s decision to personally taught Edison at home. Which unknowingly created a butterfly effect that fueled his love for science.
It is an undeniable fact that education has a significant role in preparing the next generation for facing the unknown and the uncertain in the future instead of producing similar-minded and ready to use robots. So, stimulating the students to develop their own creativity, critical thinking, and decision-making in receiving complex information are the skills that are highly prioritized for them to become agile, where changes happen quicker and reaction time to changes are becoming shorter.
So, what’s left for the teacher, then? With the rapid awareness in internet literacy, students are able to seek any information any time. Meanwhile, the teacher’s role changes into a supporting figure or a mentor for the students who provide insight and guidance, while the students are now are the star in their own learning process. This is known as student-centered learning.
The first student-centered learning method is inquiry-based learning. Instead of directly providing facts and data during the class, the teacher gives a case or question that needs to be solved by the students. This method emphasizes on independent knowledge seeking, analyzing, and concluding in forms of either presentation, video, printed display, or academic writing. In inquiry-based learning, the “what” evolves into “how”. Thus it creates a stimulation for the students to understand the given topic comprehensively.
The second method is expeditionary learning. This method focuses on the student as a significant part of their community. Although it is not widely applied in educational institutions yet. This method implies that the students can and able to change the world, even through small impact in their environment.
For example, a student might learn about heavy metal pollution in soil poses a dangerous threat to people. Who consume vegetables and fruits which grow from the contaminated soil. He found out that sunflower has the ability to absorb dangerous chemical substances. He decided to try planting sunflowers in the affected soil in order to decrease the likelihood of heavy metal contamination. Then, he conducted a lab test on the soil’s heavy metal content before and after the treatment from time to time to compare the effectivity of the sunflower’s performance in absorbing the heavy metals. He would conclude the optimum period of time of the sunflower performance based on the data he collected.